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Death Benefits

In Delaware, surviving family members of a loved one who dies from a job-related injury or illness is eligible to receive death benefits under Workers’ Compensation law. Death benefits offer family members financial support to supplement what their loved one once provided. The following is what you need to know about eligibility, how benefits are calculated, and how to file a Workers’ Compensation claim in Delaware.

Am I Eligible for Death Benefits?

Death benefits for surviving family members of fatally injured workers are calculated based on the person’s relation to the deceased and if they were dependent on them financially at the time of their death. Spouses and children receive top priority. Parents who counted on the deceased for at least half of their financial support have second priority. Siblings who received at least half of their financial support from the deceased worker are third in line to receive death benefits.

How are Death Benefits Calculated?

A standard formula is used to calculate the exact amount of death benefits to go to loved ones. They amount to a portion of the deceased individual’s average weekly income, not to exceed the statewide average weekly amount. Specific terms for calculating benefits apply to various members of the worker’s family.

For example:

  • A spouse with no children: The surviving spouse receives 66 2/3 percent of the worker’s average if it is above $15.
  • A spouse with children: With one child, the surviving spouse receives the above amount. For each additional child, total amount of benefits increases slightly.
  • Children but no spouse: With no surviving spouse, children receive 66 2/3 percent of the deceased parent’s weekly wages. If there are more than two children, benefits are increased. Payments are divided equally among the children and paid to their guardians.
  • No spouse or children: In this scenario, the worker’s parents receive 20 percent of their weekly income.
  • No spouse, children, or dependent parent: In this case, a dependent sibling receives 15 percent of their sibling’s income, which is increased for additional sisters or brothers.

There are maximum caps for each scenario. Death benefits are paid to spouses until they remarry or pass away. If they do remarry, they receive a single lump sum equivalent to two years’ worth of benefits. Children receive benefits up to the age of 18, or 25 if they are in school full time.

Many workers in Delaware may not know that employers are also required to pay reasonable funeral and burial costs for an employee who suffers a fatal accident or illness related to their job. Funeral expenses up to $3,500 are covered, though in some cases, the Delaware Industrial Accident Board may approve a larger payout. For further clarification regarding the total amount of death benefits you are entitled to, contact a Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyer for clarification.

How to File a Claim for Death Benefits in Delaware

As with any work accident, the first step in a Workers’ Compensation claim is to notify the workplace. Report your loved one’s death to their employer in writing as soon as possible. It is always smart to contact an experienced Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyer to assist with the initial claim and to guide you through the hearing process should your claim be denied. Because there is a time limit to appeal an unfavorable decision, you should schedule a consultation regarding your claim right away.

Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Advocate for Families of Deceased Workers

Losing a loved one is never easy and knowing their passing was the result of a preventable workplace accident is even more painful. Contact the Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC to learn more about what you may be eligible to receive. We treat your situation with care and compassion, always working to protect your family’s interests at this difficult time. For a free consultation, call us at 302-888-1221 or contact us online today. Located in Wilmington, Delaware, we represent clients throughout the state, including Dover, Newark, and Middletown.